Best Ammuntion for .22WMR 2" Barrel Handgun

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Oct 30, 2003
Houston, Texas
:confused: The handgun in question is an NAA Black Widow, but I would expect a similar answer for any short-barrelled handgun.

Right now I'm using CCI TNT 30 grain hps for my carry ammo. But I have been wondering if it would be better to use the 50 grain Gold Dots.

Would the 30 grain bullets penetrate a heavy winter coat enough to be effective defensively? Would the 50 grain bullets penetrate better but fail to expand and and act like fmj bullets?

What do you think? Thanks to all who respond.
I've never tried testing ammo from such a short little tube.
However clothing penetration shouldn't be an issue... when it comes to using these little NAA's you are at toe nail range. The propper method of Black Widow application is to screw the barrel into the ear canal or the eye socket before pulling the trigger... but up a nostril will work well too.
I've done a fair bit of shooting with 22 Magnums both from a rifle with which I've taken several smaller animals and a Ruger Single Six with which I have taken less.

Personally, if I had a 22 Magnum NAA, I'd probably use 40 or 50 grain solids. The TNTs definately have questionable penetration capabilities, at least based on my experience and that was in the rifle. The Winchester Supremes and the 50 Gr Gold Dots should expand more reliably but with something as small as a 22 rimfire, I'd rather have a solid if I expected to be shooting into a human target from less than 5 feet away. And as George mentioned, I'd strongly prefer a 'soft portion of the head' shot.
Black Widow Capabilities

Actually, it's not as bad at all that. While I usually practice with the little gun at seven yards (the range I shoot at has 7-10-15-25 yard pistol lanes), last weekend the only line free was at the 25 yard range. I didn't mind, since I intended to primarily shoot my Kimber and Ruger Old Army, but just for the heck of it decided to see if I could hit the paper with the Black Widow at that range. (Paper in this case being half a sheet of poster board, hung portrait rather than landscape. It's just a little larger than the center of mass of an adult male.)

To my surprise, with the .22lr cylinder loaded with Remington Golden Bullet 36 grain HPs (not the cheapest, but on the low-end of the price scale), I was able to maintain about a 12 to 14 inch "group" at that range. Considering that it was a pretty windy day, I don't think that's too bad. It certainly indicates to me that the Black Widow has sufficient defensive accuracy at 25 or 30 feet.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about its stopping power. But, IF the 50 grain Gold Dots would really expand, it ought to have about the same effect as a .32 fmj. Not great, but hopefully enough to make an attacker decide to seek prey elsewhere.
For some reason, in those shorter barrels, the 30grainers perform well. The 40s and especially the 50s just don't.

Stick with the TNTs.
I have a 22lr NAA revolver but I've only shot paper, dirt and cans with it... never anything with tissue.

As I said, I've done a bit of shooting with the 22 Magnum rifle but obviously with very different results.

Has anyone done any actual penetration tests with 22 magnums in the NAAs? Not just chrono testing but actual 'bullet into flesh' whether dead or alive testing? I'd be very interested to read the findings. I'd never really thought about it but, not owning a 22 Mag NAA, never really had reason to worry about it much... I just kind of thought I'd rather have a heavy-ish solid.
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